Taylor Ruck on Taking Olympic Redshirt: ‘Most Difficult Decision I’ve Ever Had to Make’

Taylor Ruck stands on the blocks at the world championships. Photo Courtesy: Becca Wyant

Taylor Ruck has put together one of the strongest 16-month stretches of international swimming by any woman in history.
Gold at the Commonwealth Games. Gold at the Pan Pacific Championships. NCAA champion at Stanford. Three-time medalist at world championships.

Ruck has been all over the world swimming fast as she proved to be one of the world’s best.

With a year to go before the 2020 Olympics, Ruck wants to make sure she can have that kind of impact in Tokyo.

That goal is her No. 1 goal in the pool right now, leading to Ruck’s decision to take an Olympic redshirt from Stanford and train in Toronto at Canada’s High Performance Center through the 2020 Olympics, then return to Stanford in the fall of 2020. She and Stanford officials confirmed the decision.

“My decision to redshirt the upcoming academic year of 2019-2020 has been the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make, as I will be living and training in Toronto, Ontario,” Ruck told Swimming World. “I do this in the hopes of going to and doing well at the 2020 Olympic Games.”

Ruck, a junior world champion, won bronze medals on three Canadian relays a the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. She was fourth in the 100 back, fifth in the 200 back and 100 free, nearly reaching the podium.


Taylor Ruck at the 2018 Commonwealth Games; Photo Courtesy: Ian MacNicol

Even more dominant was her 2018 year when she won a record eight medals at the Commonwealth Games and five medals at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships 12 months ago, including an epic 200 free win over Katie Ledecky and Rikako Ikee, one of the most memorable international showdowns in recent years.

She had a strong freshman season in Palo Alto as well. In March, she was part of Stanford’s 800 free relay national title and was NCAA runner-up in the 200 free and 200 back, also finishing third in the 100 back to lead Stanford to the team title.


Taylor Ruck; Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

“My first year at Stanford was literally insane — from meeting friends that will last a lifetime to having been coached by some of the best in the world, I smile and laugh recalling all of the memories I’ve made with my new family over the past nine months,” Ruck said. “From literally getting stuck in a hurricane during our preseason trip to Maui to figuratively getting stuck in the hurricane of pain that was our training trip to the Olympic Training Center, my bond with this amazing group of ladies has increased to the extent where I feel like they are my home. This is why my decision has been the most difficult I have ever had to make.”

Ruck credits her coaches and teammates for their support in her difficult decision.

“I am so blessed and grateful to have both Greg Meehan and Ben Titley as my coaches and mentors going into this rare experience,” she said. “These guys are two of the most accepting, understanding, and dedicated people I have been blessed to be coached by; they know me and my goals better than anyone, and are willing to push me to achieve what I have only dreamt of achieving.”

Ruck achieved quite a bit at the 2016 Olympics as a 16-year-old, earning bronze medals on two Canadian relays.

If Ruck can build off of a spectacular 16 months with focused training, Tokyo could be the platform for her greatest performance yet.


  1. Linda Hyslop

    All the best Taylor. Canada will be behind you all the way????

    • avatar

      All the best Taylor!! Your hard work and training will pay off at the Olympics!! Canada stands by you. ????

  2. avatar

    Thank you for entertaining Canada and all the best in Toronto. Canada is already proud of you. You epitomize a great quote. “ here, now, this moment” ?? ?‍♂️?

  3. avatar
    Christine, Swim mom

    Thank you for entertaining Canada and all the best in Toronto. Canada is already proud of you. You epitomize a great quote. “ here, now, this moment” ?? ?‍♂️?

  4. Jonathan Quirarte

    Good call. The Olympics only come every 4 years, Stanford will be there next year. Good luck Taylor.